Tue. Dec 6th, 2022

Democrat Katie Hobbs was elected governor of Arizona on Monday, defeating a Donald Trump ally who falsely claimed the 2020 election was rigged and refused to say she would accept the results of her race this year.

Hobbs, who is Arizona’s secretary of state, has emerged as a staunch defender of the legitimacy of the past election and has warned that her Republican opponent, former television news anchor Kari Lake, will be an agent of chaos. Hobbs’ victory adds further evidence that Trump is straining his allies in the key battleground state as the former president prepares to announce his 2024 presidential race.

She will succeed Republican Gov. Doug Ducey, who is barred by term limits from running again. She is the first Democrat to be elected governor of Arizona since Janet Napolitano in 2006.

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A former Republican stronghold where Democrats thrived during the Trump era, Arizona has been central to efforts by Trump and his allies to cast doubt on Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential victory with false claims of fraud. to battleground states, even though his choice in the Nevada governor’s race, Republican Joe Lombardo, defeated the incumbent Democrat.

Before entering politics, Hobbs was a social worker working with homeless youth and the executive director of a large domestic violence shelter in the Phoenix area. She was elected to the state legislature in 2010, serving one term in the House of Representatives and three terms in the Senate, rising to minority leader.

Hobbs narrowly won as secretary of state in 2018 and has been thrust into the center of a political firestorm as Arizona has become the focus of efforts by Trump and his allies to overturn the results of the 2020 election, which he lost. She appeared constantly on cable news defending the integrity of the vote count.

Click to play video: 'US Midterm Elections: Trump Says Concerned About Arizona, Machines and 'Other Problems with Paper Ballots'

US midterms: Trump says worried about Arizona, machines and ‘other problems with paper ballots’

The attention allowed her to raise millions of dollars and raise her profile. When she announced her campaign for governor, other prominent Democrats declined to run and Hobbs comfortably won the primary.

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She ran a cautious campaign, mostly sticking to scripted and choreographed public appearances. She refused to engage in a debate with Lake, claiming that Lake would turn her into a spectacle by spouting conspiracy theories and making false accusations.

She bet instead that voters would recoil from Lake, who has engaged in verbal spats with reporters while the cameras were rolling and set a combative tone toward Democrats and even the establishment Republicans who have long dominated state government.

Pre-election polls showed a close race, but Hobbs’ victory still came as a surprise to many Democrats who feared her timidity would turn off voters. She beat expectations in Maricopa and Pima counties, metro Phoenix and the Tucson areas where the vast majority of Arizona voters live. She also spent a lot of time in rural areas, trying to minimize her losses in traditionally Republican-leaning regions.

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Lake is well known across much of the state after serving as the evening news anchor in Phoenix for more than two decades. She ran as a fierce critic of the mainstream media, which she said was unfair to Republicans. She won Trump’s admiration for her firm commitment to reconsidering the results of the 2020 election, a position she never wavered from even after winning the GOP primary.

She baselessly accused election officials of counting votes slowly this year and prioritizing Democratic ballots while trailing Hobbs narrowly in the days after the election.

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Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone said he increased security around the election center Monday in anticipation that the race would be called and that emotions could run high, though he said there was no specific threat. Protesters had been gathering in front of the building for several days, but remained calm, he said.

“I think we’re getting to the end of the game so I want to make sure we’re ready,” Penzone told reporters at a press conference hours before the race call.

The sheriff’s office was caught off guard two years ago when armed and angry protesters stormed an election building in downtown Phoenix after Fox News and The Associated Press called Arizona for Biden, the first time a Democrat had won the state in more than two decades. .

© 2022 The Canadian Press